Saturday, May 24, 2008

God is not a conservative

I just realised the other day that in all the reading I have done over the years in the Bible and in all my encounters with the living God, he has never shown himself to be a conservative. I am not talking merely about a point on the political compass or a fiscal outlook. Let me refer to Miriam Webster for some clarity:

conservative (adjective) a: tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions b: marked by moderation or caution c: marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners.

I am in the middle of the book of Ezekiel now and this God tells the prophet to engage in some of the most outlandish acts as illustrations of God's divine love and justice, as well as his intense desire and even jealousy for a close and exclusive relationship between him and his people. There is no careful check and balance that he adheres to - he is passionate and angry and righteous and holy and loving, all at the same time. There is no view to maintaining existing conditions - he is always pushing forward, calling people to repent and love and live lavishly, inciting turmoil as a catalyst for positive change, and revealing more of himself in the process. There is no tradition he sets in place and leaves for all to fall back on as the norm - his character alone defines all of history as we know it and this character is so multifaceted that many call it contradictory. There is no caution to his actions or words - whatever he says or does, he does so knowing the end from the beginning and the effect from the cause. Raw truth slices straight through the heart of it all without apology.

I come from a conservative background, both financially and politically and culturally. I am afraid that while this worldview has provided a relatively good, stable, and comfortable life, it has done nothing to reveal and build the character of Jesus in me. The words that his contemporaries used to describe Jesus were never synonyms of the "c" word. He was called heretic, impostor, teacher, prophet, messiah, demonized, lunatic, healer, and even beloved. But never conservative. I do believe we conservative Christians have set our sights much too low.

This is St. Joseph's Oratory against a striking blue spring sky...today.

2 comments:

shane magee said...

matte, don't tell me you're joining the heretics at last??!!

come pull up a seat and be welcome! we've been waiting for you! :o)

Shelley said...

wow good point! i should send this one to all my american christian relatives...lol.